Even in ‘all of this’ God will work it out
The present calamity has most certainly shaken our collective sense of well-being. The institutional pillars of our community — schools, businesses, government and even churches –have been shaken to their very cores.
Much of what we believed was certain and received as fact, indeed the very convictions of our hearts, have come under attack. While the pace of life has slowed, or seemingly stopped in some quarters, there are three things that remain the same. These three things should guide us through this unsettling period.
They are the same three things that sustained Job as he sat in an ash heap a little ways from his house, having lost all except his mortal life. These three things are also what will sustain each of us, not just through today, but through the remainder of this trial.
The first thing to know is this: God is in it. Job said, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” Though Job knew trouble of the worst sort, his comfort (though a “cold comfort” at first) was found in the fact that the Lord was the ultimate cause of his trouble. There is nothing so bad that can happen to a person and God not be in it. God is sovereign.
Venus doesn’t shine brightly in the night sky without God. Likewise, a single leaf cannot fall from a tree if God does not allow it. Nothing in the universe happens without God. At the very start, the Bible reads, “In the beginning …” the next word is “GOD.” Nothing happens without Him. This gives purpose to our shared suffering, even if we don’t presently understand it.
The second thing to know is that God is good. God’s goodness extends beyond days in which the sun is shining, birds are chirping and we have access to schools, restaurants, and other venues of public life. God is good even when our circumstances are bad.
Job put it this way. “The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job worshipped God in the midst of loss. Though Job’s temporal circumstances had changed dramatically for the worse, he knew God’s nature had not.
Our God is the same God who in times past has sustained our community and caused it to prosper. The plan of God may cause some temporary inconvenience, even pain, but the plan’s ultimate purpose is for good.
The third thing we can count on is that God will work it out. Yes, He works through health care professionals, political leadership, and other proximate means; however, He is the ultimate cause.
We may not understand how God brings good out of bad. We may not understand how anyone can say “God is good” in the midst of uncertain times. While we are bracing for the worst, we secretly wonder whether or not God can work it out at all.
Yet, when we can see the least; when it looks like absolutely nothing good is happening; it is precisely then that God is busy working it out. When the water main broke, he worked it out. Through historic floods, he worked it out. Through the winds and storms of years past, God has always worked it out.
So even “in all of this,” we should have confidence that God will work it out.
Rev. R.D. Bernard is pastor of King Solomon Baptist Church on Oak Ridge Road.